Joe Lundberg

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Midweek Highlights Heading Toward Easter

April 4, 2012; 10:10 AM ET

Wednesday, 11:30 A.M.

Another day with tight time deadlines, but there's a lot to touch on, so I'll do it in highlight form today!

1) Devastating tornado outbreak from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex into northeast Texas Tuesday. Wow. Tractor trailers flying through the air? Unreal. I head one national forecast mention a tornado risk yesterday, but emphasized it was 'minor'. That didn't work out so well. Kind of like some of my forecasts last month that were woefully underdone on the warmth. But I digress!

That system is still capable of producing severe weather. Yet if you if you look at the visible satellite, and combine it radar images, it would appear that the strongest thunderstorms are now out over the Gulf of Mexico:

Still, the air mass across the South is warm and it is certainly humid, and as you can see from that same image, there's a good deal of sunshine, so be on the lookout for more strong to severe thunderstorms this afternoon into tonight:

2) Cool invasion across the Northeast. A cold front will slip through the region this afternoon with no fanfare. Behind it, high pressure up over Hudson Bay will shift southeastward. With a clear sky and light winds, that's a recipe for frost in a lot of places from parts of the Ohio Valley into the interior mid-Atlantic and New England. The coldest night will be Thursday night and Friday morning. It won't have as far to fall, the high will be overhead, and the air will be bone dry. There could be a hard freeze as well, which makes some fruit growers nervous. I talked to one of our local growers Monday, and he said his peaches have suffered some damage, and a little to the apple crop, but if it gets below 25 for more than an hour or two, they could lose more buds. Not good. It'll get real close tomorrow night where he is. At least it will turn milder again over the Easter weekend with lots of sunshine.

3) Dry pattern. The lack of the spring snowmelt would have been okay had the moistness of the winter pattern continued into March and now early April. It didn't. Now the top soil is quickly drying out, and there's no rain for five days from Chicago to Boston. With the underbrush drying out as well, the danger of brush fires will steadily increase. Any time the winds whip up, it will increase more in these dry air masses. Just ask the folks in Jefferson County, Colorado, about that.

Going into next week, I don't necessarily see storminess returning, either. With the upper-level trough axis likely to be along and then off the East Coast Tuesday to Thursday, the chance of any meaningful storm is pretty low, especially west of the I-95 corridor.

4) Warming in the West. It has been a long time in coming, but finally the upper level ridge will get far enough west that even the West Coast states will have some semblance of nice spring weather. Look at the projected temperature anomalies for Monday:

Granted, that's not saying it will reach the 70s in Seattle or Portland, but 60s with some sunshine would be nice, and 70s are likely in Boise for a couple of days, maybe 80 in Salt Lake City. It should be pretty nice and getting warmer over the Easter weekend. Now, it may not last if this is right:

If the PNA really does go negative again, which the modeling supports, then another deep upper-level trough will slam the West Coast later next week and bring more chilly air, clouds, rain and mountain snows to parts of Washington, Oregon, and California.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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About This Blog

Joe Lundberg
Joe Lundberg, a veteran AccuWeather.com forecaster and meteorologist, covers both short and long-term U.S. weather on this blog.